The May 28, 2016 issue of the Apis Information Resource News has been published. It contains information on bee incidents and the latest GMO report:
The biggest thing happening while I was in recovery was a beekeeping incident in Concord California. Immediately pegged a “killer bee attack,” and reported with much enthusiasm: “According to National Geographic, killer bees is the common name for African honeybees, a dangerous species that originally reproduces in the Amazon rain forest,” (Really!). The details are somewhat off putting even for experienced beekeepers. “Aside from attacking people, the bees have killed a bird and two small dogs named Milo and Gunner. The veterinarian said she stopped counting after she pulled out 50 stingers from each dog.” The killer quote from this report is: “The bees look like honey bees, but they’re anything but.” . Check out the following report for a fuller rendition of the story.
Now we understand that the bees are indeed not africanized, at least from a DNA perspective, according to state officials, who tested seven (7) for mitochondrial DNA . Bees are being sent off for further testing (nuclear DNA of drones), but the results won’t bee in until May. Meanwhile this appears to be a good exercise for the U. of Calfornia’s new extension specialist Elina Niňo who took over recently from Eric Mussen to show her abilities. See her interview by Larry Connor in the June Bee Culture Magazine.
Arizona is now reporting another incident. This is definitely Africanized bee country and in a rural setting. It is completely different from the Concord situation, which included a beekeeper’s manipulations in an urban zone, not that the press cares or reports on these details. One report indicated the pesticide Raid had somehow been used to keep the bees at bay, but may have overly irritated them. If so, that’s not in any best management practices I know about. Neither is moving bees during the day. Here’s some advice about this kind of manipulation.
These bee incidents attract such sensational press coverage that one wag is afraid beekeeping might suffer in a number or ways. We can visualize a NIMBY approach in many neighborhoods. Could this slow down the continuing pace at which people decide to become beekeepers?
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine has released a comprehensive report on genetically engineered crops. Although it doesn’t answer all questions about GMOs, it does provide a basis for further discussion. The report is the first to say that it cannot provide reponses to all questions raised about these crops. However, 20 years of people and livestock eating these crops provide no evidence of health effects in either Canada or the U.S.–Nevertheless, they conclude some of this “could come into play down the road.”
According the the report, only 12 crops in the U.S. are really involved, and only in two technologies are in use: herbicide and insect resistance. Maize (corn), cotton and soybeans lead the pack. Technology has moved so fast such that conventional and engineered crops are now produced using a blending of conventional and GMO breeding, which makes many of traditional complaints about this technology “old hat.”
The report concludes the future of this technology will demand balanced regulations and better use of these on on small scale farms. New technologies are expected in public investment concerning nitrogen fixing and photosynthesis. Most interesting will the the continued use of “omic” technology. This can be used to see exactly what’s in a plant and provide a comparison with the conventional or “natural” product. It also provides a better possibility to detect “unintended” consequences of various techniques. Finally, it suggests that regulation determined by “novelty” of new plant and “omic” technic will be crucial in future studies.